Read it. Watch it. Enjoy it! And while you’re at it, you may as well learn from it.
The Hobbit depicts a positive, hopeful worldview that can empower your kids, especially when the “real world” feels a little bleak. Here’s what The Hobbit will teach your children.
1. Home is worth fighting for
Bilbo Baggins hates leaving his cozy hobbit hole but the dwarves who ask him for help have no home. He tells them, “I miss my books, and my armchair, and my garden. See, that’s where I belong, that’s home. That’s why I came back. ‘Cause you don’t have one, a home. It was taken from you. But I will help you take it back if I can.”
2. Eating good food is important
A new scientific study speculates that The Hobbit baddies such as goblins, Gollum, and Smaug, have vitamin-D deficiencies due to their poor diet and avoidance of sunlight. This weakens them and undermines their performance in battle. Hobbits, on the other hand, eat six meals a day rich in a variety of nutrients and spend their afternoons gardening in the sunshine. Take note.
3. Racism is a a flawed worldview
Yes, we know this. But sometimes understanding an imaginary world leads to greater clarity in the real one. There are many races and creatures in Middle Earth who don’t necessarily intermingle, but they always do better when they work together and cast prejudice aside. Elves and dwarves, especially, benefit when they join forces and utilize each others’ strengths rather than remaining segregated in bigoted isolation. We need each other.
4. Keep trying
Even when you feel like a tiny person clinging to the sheer cliffs of hope outnumbered by giants with no prospects and no plan, keep trying. Who knows? Maybe Gandalf will show up, or the sun will rise, or you’ll puzzle out the riddle.
5. Little people can change the world
In a world of literal giants and powerful wizards, Middle Earth is a place where normal, small people can change the world. This is a great message for kids to show them that what they do matters. Read them The Hobbit. It’s wonderful for children!
6. Friendship matters
The traveling company of 13 dwarves, a wizard, and a hobbit are bound together through camaraderie and loyalty. Gandalf, who often leaves to deal with “bigger” problems, always returns to help his friends. They succeed in their quest only to the extent that their friendship endures.
7. Weaknesses can become strengths
Dwarves are stout: Great for escaping in barrels. Hobbits are disregarded and go unnoticed: Great for stealing jewels from a dragon. The Hobbit shows us that what we consider our weaknesses can be turned into great assets.
8. Greed is bad
The dwarves’ whole civilization collapses because of greed. Thorin’s father digs deeper and deeper into Mt. Erebor lusting for gold and bringing the wrath of Smaug on them all. Thorin finally learns, “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
9. Be good to your ponies
Throughout The Hobbit, you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat their ponies, pets, and other living things. Spoiler Alert: The bad guys tend to eat their ponies. More evidence that simple gestures and common kindness goes a long way to make the world a better place.
10. Evil thinks it will win, but it won’t
It may take some time and the battle will be costly, but The Hobbit depicts a hopeful view of the world where good ultimately triumphs over evil — just as it does in Star Wars, Harry Potter, and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Equipped with this belief, children are empowered to face their fears knowing that their efforts will make a difference.
These are all things I want my kids to know and understand. The Hobbit is a great way to teach them.
Photo Source: Amazon